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Radio shock-jock Don Imus had a record of brutal, vulgar attacks on ethnic groups and women, but celebrity politicians and news figures were regulars on his program. Why was the slur on the Rutgers basketball team the last straw? What does the episode illustrate about America's popular culture? Also, a promotion for his girlfriend spells trouble for World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz and, on Reporter's Notebook, Kurt Vonnegut, the Free Speech Movement, and today's bitter disputes about language.

Making News Wolfowitz's Tenure at World Bank in Jeopardy 6 MIN, 8 SEC

Paul Wolfowitz, President of the World Bank, is in trouble for personally ordering a generous promotion for his girlfriend.  Shaha Riza was at the World Bank when Wolfowitz took over.  Yesterday, Wolfowitz apologized, explaining the “painful personal dilemma” as one that happened early in his tenure at the institution when he was “trying to navigate in uncharted waters.” Krishna Guha is reporting the story for the Financial Times.

Krishna Guha, US Economic Editor, Financial Times

Main Topic How Did Don Imus Go Down in Flames? 35 MIN, 16 SEC

Last night, the Rutgers women's basketball team met with ousted talk-show host Don Imus and this morning, coach Vivian Stringer called him "remorseful."  Time magazine once named Imus one of America's 25 most influential people. He's in the National Broadcaster's Hall of Fame. But he's out of a job for the moment, for calling the Scarlet Knights "nappy headed hos." With a record of calling Arabs "ragheads" and Jews "money grubbing," how did Imus last as long as he did? Why did presidential candidates and network news stars appear on his program when he insulted Hillary Clinton and Leslie Stahl? Was Imus worse than other shock-jocks or rappers?  Why was last week's comment the last straw?

Emily Steel, Staff writer for the Wall Streeet Journal
Michael Harrison, Editor and Publisher of Talkers magazine
Jasmyne Cannick, social and political commentator (@jasmyne)
Darren Lane, General Manager of KCAA
Francine Prose, Author
Todd Gitlin, Columbia University (@toddgitlin)

Reporter's Notebook Kurt Vonnegut Remembered 7 MIN, 21 SEC

As the flap over Don Imus was reaching its peak this week, American novelist Kurt Vonnegut died at the age of 84. With Slaughterhouse Five, Cat's Cradle, and Breakfast of Champions, Vonnegut was part of a generation of writers known for democratizing language, using common American speech to describe massive cultural changes during the 60's and 70's.  Did he help sew the seeds of today's unrestrained public dialogue? Jerome Klinkowitz, a friend of Vonnegut's, wrote about him in books including, Vonnegut in Fact and, The Vonnegut Effect.

Jerome Klinkowitz, Professor of English at the University of Northern Iowa

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